LIFE-SAVE vs other solutions
The system developted by LIFE-SAVE project is a unique product, covered by patents: there are no alternative products or patents that provide hybridization of vehicles together with solar recharge.
Apart the convenience for the customer, this solution would allow the REUSE of cars often still in good conditions, avoiding a massive scrapping of the actual fleet. The benefits in terms of energy consumption and CO2 emissions are analysed at this link.
We synthetically analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the system compared to both the conventional vehicle and the possible alternatives.
Conventional vehicle (petrol or Diesel)
Pros: Reduction in consumption and emissions (up to 20% in typical urban use). Better performance (acceleration, driveability) thanks to the 4×4. The car can be classified as an ecological vehicle (it is similar to a hybrid) and can access the Limited Traffic Zones.
Cons: Additional cost. Slight increase in vehicle weight (around 60 kg). Space occupied by the additional battery (instead of the spare wheel).
Conventional natural gas or LPG vehicle
Pro: With our solution the reduction in operating costs is due to a lower fuel consumption (wich is one of the main targets of LIFE-SAVE project), while in a vehicle fueled by methane or LPG is linked only to a lower cost of fuel, which in Italy is currently burdened by a lower taxation than gasoline and diesel. It is clear that this advantage could change as a result of political decisions (even diesel fuel years ago cost much less than gasoline, but then the gap has been reduced after the diffusion of Diesel engines). The system also offers an increase in performance thanks to the 4×4 architecture. However, it can also be applied to CNG or LPG vehicles.
Cons: Installing our system is more expensive than installing a CNG or LPG system.
Pros: despite having the typical advantages of a hybrid vehicle (reduction of consumption and emissions, high range, high performance, braking energy recovery, etc.), it costs much less than a hybrid vehicle. In addition, it allows a partial solar recharge, an option not present today except on some “Concept” (however, far behind the development stage of LIFE-SAVE) and on the top model of Toyota Prius Prime Plug-In, currently only in the Japanese market (at a much higher cost compared to our solution…) . Moreover, a general switch to hybrid vehicles would mean a massive scrapping of the circulating fleet, while their conversion would allow the reuse of cars in many cases still in good condition. This solution is therefore much more sustainable, as the reuse is one of the pillars of sustainability together with the reduction and recycling (the three Rs).
Cons: A vehicle designed “ab ovo” as hybrid can, in theory, optimize consumption and performance better. However, this gap is offset by the presence of solar recharge.
Pros: our system costs much less than an electric vehicle. It doesn’t have the problems of limited range and difficulty and length of recharging which still afflict electric vehicles (problems related to charging and the impact on the electrical network today constitute a serious limit to the mass uptake of electric vehicles). It should be noted that an electric vehicle does not allow to avoid CO2 emissions, unless the electricity for charging does not come from a renewable source, while the reduction of CO2 ensured by our system is based on a lower consumption of energy related to hybridization and the availability of electricity from a photovoltaic source. With our solution, as for conventional vehicles, it is possible to heat the passenger compartment due to the waste heat of the internal combustion engine, while the winter heating (such as the air-conditioning during summer) seriously reduce the range in an electric vehicle.
Cons: The electric allows you to move in zero emission mode, within its range. Our system allows “Full Electric” mode with reduced power, and with lower range than a native electric vehicle, as it is normally equipped with a smaller battery. It can however, with an additional cost, accommodate a larger battery, extending the range in “Full Electric” mode.
Pros: Unlike our solution, the hydrogen-powered vehicles (with Fuel-Cell) represent today only alternative to long term, having to solve problems of cost of Fuel-Cell, safety, availability and distribution of hydrogen. As with the electric vehicle, the CO2 reduction associated with the use of hydrogen is only realized if the hydrogen itself (which is not found as it is in nature) is produced from a renewable source.
Cons: As for electric vehicles, a hydrogen vehicle allows you to move in Zero Emission mode, within its range. Our system allows this mode only with reduced power and with lower range, as it is usually equipped with a smaller battery. It could however, with an additional cost, accommodate a larger battery, extending the range in “Full Electric” mode.
Pros: it allows to reduce operating costs, consumption and emissions compared to a conventional vehicle fueled with bio-fuels, also increasing its performance. Bio-fuels, available today and also in the near future in relatively small quantities, allow to reduce global CO2 emissions, but do not offer substantial advantages in terms of urban emissions, performance or operating costs (unless there are incentives) . It should be noted that the system developed by LIFE-SAVE project can also apply to vehicles that use bio-fuels, adding the advantages.
Cons: Additional cost for the plant.